NYC Hound Finalizing Charelston Dining List
Breakfast: Ditto to Bookstore Cafe and I would suggest Marie Laveau's (West Ashley, but a short easy drive out of the city). Hominy is good, but if you have to wait in the heat or eat in the heat you may be sorry, especially if you are not acclimated to the heat.
Lunch: Enjoyed lunch at Magnolias recently and want to go back when I am not on a diet. Fast and French on Broad Street is good. Never been to Cru recently tried to get seated (during Spoleto and couldn't -- on my to go list). If you get seated outside at Cru you will smell the nearby horse barn (right next to my vet, so I know). The barn houses the horses that pull the tour carriages. Grill 225 is reasonable for lunch (quite expensive for dinner) and very good. It is in the heart of the restaurant/market district. If money is no object and you want a steak for dinner Grill 225.
Dinner: A Di La is one of my favorite restaurant here, but I don't think it offers a uniquely Charleston experience. Fleet Landing is similar to SNOB with a water view. McCrady's is supposed to be outstanding and on my "to go" list. Consider Carolinas - very good food, good atmosphere -- sophisticated without being overly formal, great specialty drinks and a very short walk to the riverfront park where you can walk off supper. I like Fulton Five (Italian) a lot - you never see this restaurant recommended, but it is good, small, usually packed.
Our experience at 82 Queen was so awful I'll probably keep chiming in for a while. Avoid the place; locals do so, I assure you. One of the worst tourist traps I've ever seen. Mediocre-to-bad overpriced food, incompetent service, dirty rooms, ineptly-prepared drinks, you name it. There are so many wonderful restaurants in Charleston that it's simply a shame that 82 Queen manages to fleece so many good people with such a tawdry excuse for fine dining and fine food.
Hominy Grill last time with company for Sunday brunch was disappointing. Shrimp and grits were OK but guest didn't love it; salmon cakes had some kind of odd sauce that tasted like undiluted tomato soup and he who eats everything moved the cakes to another plate in order to finish; monster biscuit was flaky with decent fried chicken on top, but not nearly enough gravy and they charged extra for more. Second mediocre experience there. Pricey by the time it all adds up.
If I were the OP, I might move SNOB to lunch instead of Poogan's Porch or Magnolia (neither of which impressed me). Add FIG to dinners. At SNOB, I love their shrimp and grits and their charcuterie plate especially.
Second the motion on Marion Square if it's a Saturday morning -- had some killer muffins the other week and shopped for herbs and veggies.
i have to second 82 queen. my wife and i ate there for our wedding night 5 years ago and we still comment on it. try to get there on a nic enight and request a garden table. it's beautiful. the restaurant itself is a little odd as the dining rooms wind through an old house. good wine list. excellent food.
Hominy Grill is not so good. It is hard to really mess up breakfast but I would have problems waiting a half hour in line to get an acceptable but over priced breakfast.
Breakfast any time:
If you want a killer breakfast you could go to Bookstore Cafe which has moved to Mt. Pleasant. They have these potato casserole things that are very good and big enough to fill two people. Rutledge Coffee and Cream is a little closer and really cool. It is a hippy coffee shop with the best house made yogurt, really good bagels and lox, and great coffee.
Breakfast Saturday mornings:
Marion Square Farmers Market. Crepes, tacos, eggs, great pizza, pickle lady, gyros, lemonade, etc.
Tristan or High Cotton for fancy. Moe's Crosstown Tavern if you can be there at 11AM before it is packed.
Enjoy your trip!
Moe's Crosstown has excellent brunch, and while it's a bit of a drive, it's been a local favorite for decades. It used to be the kind of place that was members only and you needed a key to get in, but since the crosstown neighborhood has (relatively) shaped up over the years, Moe's has become THE place for all types of locals. Not a very touristy place at all, unless there's something big going on at the Citadel. Hampton park, right across from Moe's, is also a very nice place to take a stroll after brunch.
Personally, I think 82 Queen is a little overrated, and most people I know who have worked there did not like working there.